The Paul McCartney Project

Because

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Abbey Road Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1969
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

Because” is a song written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon–McCartney) and recorded by the Beatles in 1969. It features a prominent three-part vocal harmony by Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison, overdubbed twice to make nine voices in all. It first appeared on Abbey Road (1969), immediately preceding the extended medley on side two of the record.

Composition

The song begins with a distinctive electric harpsichord intro played by producer George Martin. The harpsichord is joined by Lennon’s guitar (mimicking the harpsichord line) played through a Leslie speaker. Then vocals and bass guitar enter.

Because” was one of few Beatles recordings to feature a Moog synthesiser, played by George Harrison. It appears in what Alan Pollack refers to as the “mini-bridge”, and then again at the end of the song.

According to Lennon, the song’s close musical resemblance to the first movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata was no coincidence: “Yoko was playing Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’ on the piano … I said, ‘Can you play those chords backwards?’, and wrote ‘Because’ around them. The lyrics speak for themselves … No imagery, no obscure references.

Musical structure

With regard to the controversy Lennon initiated by citing Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” as an inspiration, musicologist Walter Everett notes that “both arpeggiate triads and seventh chords in C♯ minor in the baritone range of a keyboard instrument at a slow tempo, move through the submediant to ♭II and approach vii dim7/IV via a common tone.” But while acknowledging the unusual shared harmonies, Dominic Pedler notes that the relationship is not the result of reversing the order of the chords as Lennon suggested.

Because” concludes with a vocal fade-out on D dim, which keeps listeners in suspense as they wait for the return to the home key of C♯ minor. Mellers states that: “causality is released and there is no before and no after: because that flat supertonic is a moment of revelation, it needs no resolution.” The D dim chord (and its accompanying melodic F♮) lingers until they resolve into the opening Am7 chord of “You Never Give Me Your Money“.

Recording

George Martin on “Because“:

Between us, we also created a backing track with John playing a riff on guitar, me duplicating every note on an electronic harpsichord, and Paul playing bass. Each note between the guitar and harpsichord had to be exactly together, and as I’m not the world’s greatest player in terms of timing, I would make more mistakes than John did, so we had Ringo playing a regular beat on hi-hat to us through our headphones.

The main recording session for “Because” was on 1 August 1969, with vocal overdubs on 4 August, and a double-tracked Moog synthesiser overdub by Harrison on 5 August. As a result, this was the last song on the album to be committed to tape, although there were still overdubs for other incomplete songs. This approach took extensive rehearsal, and more than five hours of extremely focused recording, to capture correctly. McCartney and Harrison both said it was their favourite track on Abbey Road. “They knew they were doing something special,” said engineer Geoff Emerick, “and they were determined to get it right.” A new remixed version, without instrumentation, was released on 1996’s Anthology 3 and 2006’s Love. Both versions highlight the three-part harmony by Lennon, McCartney and Harrison.

In 2016, the Beatles ‘ Anthology 3 version was featured in the trailer for Luc Besson’s film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

Luc Besson, about getting the rights to use “Because:

I just asked! We reached out to Paul McCartney, and he asked, ‘What is the film?’ and then he said yes! I never met him — I wish I could, to thank him. From what I heard, he’s seen a couple of my films — and because he’s from U.K. and I’m from France, we’re both from Europe, so maybe a little closer. And Cara [Delevingne] is U.K. also. So there is a vibe that I think, from what I heard, made him say, ‘For this one, because it’s at least new and fresh.’ So I think that he likes that. He likes to be part of something new.

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

  • [a] stereo 12 Aug 1969.
    UK: Apple PCS 7088 Abbey Road 1969.
    US: Apple SO-383 Abbey Road 1969.
    CD: EMI CDP 7 46446 2 Abbey Road 1987.
  • [b] stereo 1996.
    CD: Apple CDP 8 34451 2 Anthology 3 1996.

The deliberately different Anthology version has just the vocals plus new reverb added in 1996.

Last updated on November 28, 2016

Lyrics

Ah, because the world is round, it turns me on
Because the world is round, ah

Because the wind is high, it blows my mind
Because the wind is high, ah

Love is old, love is new
Love is all, love is you

Because the sky is blue, it makes me cry
Because the sky is blue, ah, ah, ah, ah

Officially appears on


Abbey Road

Official album • Released in 1969

2:46 • Studio versionA • Stereo

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
John Lennon:
Lead guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Moog synthesiser, Vocals
George Martin:
Electric spinet baldwin harpsichord, Producer

Session Recording:
Aug 01, 1969
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
Aug 04, 1969
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
Aug 05, 1969
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Aug 12, 1969
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Anthology 3

Official album • Released in 1996

2:24 • OuttakeB • Stereo • Remixed vocals only. Using the fine acoustics of Abbey Road's Studio One, this remix exposes the exquisite vocal harmonies recorded by John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison for John's song Because. Clearly, the Beatles enjoyed an innate ability to harmonise, and in their earlier recording days had written two songs, This Boy and Yes It Is, with three-part vocals to the fore. Instrumentation on the Abbey Road mix of Because was sparse - spinet electric harpsichord, bass, electric guitar and overdubbed Moog synthesizer - but here it has been stripped away to reveal the nine voices (the vocals were recorded once and then overdubbed twice more by the three Beatles) in isolation.

Paul McCartney:
Vocals
John Lennon:
Vocals
George Harrison:
Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Phil McDonald:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Aug 01, 1969
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Aug 04, 1969
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Love

Official album • Released in 2006

2:44 • Studio version • The track includes the bird sounds used in the World Wildlife Fund version of Across the Universe. In addition, a new recording of a wood pigeon was implemented to make it more British, according to George Martin.

George Martin:
Producer
Giles Martin:
Producer
Paul Hicks:
Remix engineer
Sam Okell:
Remix engineer assistant
Chris Bolster:
Remix engineer assistant
Mirek Stiles:
Remix engineer assistant

Session Recording:
Circa 2004-2006
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Circa 2004-2006
Studio:
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Bootlegs


Abbey Road Sessions

Unofficial album

0:24 • Outtake • Unknown Take Stereo


Abbey Road Sessions

Unofficial album

2:21 • Outtake • Take 16 Vocals Only V1 Stereo


Abbey Road Sessions

Unofficial album

2:14 • Outtake • Take 16 Vocals Only V2 Stereo


Abbey Road Sessions

Unofficial album

2:15 • Outtake • Take 16 Half Vocals Only Stereo


Abbey Road Sessions

Unofficial album

2:48 • Outtake • Rockband Mix Stereo


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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